Facing Demons

White Rock Lake

A reservoir, White Rock Lake covers 1,254 acres and was once used for a portion of Dallas' drinking water supply. Now that it's use as a water source has been supplanted, the area has become one of the favored recreational locations in the city. The forested shoreline is dotted with numerous small cabins, fishing piers, and sailboat docks.

The lake is surrounded by White Rock Lake Park, which is home to the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Running through the park is a 9 mile trail designed for hiking, running or cycling.

Though swimming was banned here back in the '50's, it is still a popular location for area teens who generally enjoy the more deserted areas, using the beautiful backdrop as a make-out spot.

It's not long after sunset when Desiree's rental car pulls into the parking area at White Rock Lake. There are still vestiges of daylight lingering in the far west, but the sky is mostly dark. It's a clear night, with only a few clouds that might turn stormy later. For the most part, the inky darkness is dotted with stars … what ones can be seen through the light pollution of the Big D. The engine runs for a few moments, then is killed by the driver. Desiree sits behind the wheel, uncertain of this venture, even if she knows it needs to be done and over with. She needs to purge the fear she feels every time she thinks about the last time she was here. The time something preternatural attacked her.

This time she's not alone. If there are "creatures of the night" who want to hurt her, she will have protection. Michael, ever strong, ever helpful, is with her, sitting in the passenger seat. Even so, it's going to take her a few minutes to work up the courage to step outside the haven that is her car. "I don't know if I can do this, Michael," she whispers. "It's all coming back to me…" Her heart is racing, and her breathing is slightly rapid, both things a vampire can likely hear. Fear, too. It has its own scent, one predators cannot miss.

Skipping rocks, it's something he does when he needs to think and Jesse has a whole lot to think about these days. Funny that he was doing just that thing when the last Big Thing he needed to think about got dumped in his lap and he was doing it in almost exactly the same spot he's doing it in now. Like the last time, his little cooler filled with root beer is at his feet. Honest, that's all that's in there, root beer. He pulls his arm back and with a perfect flick of his wrist the flat stone he was holding skips and skips and skips. Count'm folks! It skips a good six times before sinking. Might have even been seven. Looking pleased with himself, he turns in a slow circle, eyes on the ground. Gotta find that next perfect rock.

Abbey is off on her own, which really isn't anything new in her life at the moment. She is wandering around the lake, hands in her pockets and a burning cigarette held between her lips which looks like she just lit a few moments ago. Her pale gaze drifts over the area as she wanders along, the rocks getting skipped across the water is what catches her attention and she pauses a moment to watch as Jesse tosses another one. With a smile she shifts forward, wander closer to where he happens to be. "Nice toss." Is offered with a friendly tone, faint Irish accent picked up perhaps.

Michael reaches out to take one of Desirees' hands, he gives it a gentle squeeze offering a reassuring smile. "I know you're afraid… that's why you should do this." He steps out of the car, walking around to the other side to open the door for Desiree, he looks at her. "It's your call, but it will just get harder… it's just a park Desiree." He reaches out his hand again.

"A park where I was attacked by some kind of were-thing," Desiree says bluntly. "If you hadn't followed me, I'd be dead now." That's the truth; the creature, whatever it was, had been out for blood. "I need to know it's just a park in here," she taps the side of her head, "and in here." This time she touches her chest. Even she can feel the pound of her heart. Hands go back to the wheel of the car, and she switches off the engine. Another moment, and she's pulling the keys out and opening the door. Before she turns around and leaves without accomplishing her goal. "I've got to do part of this on my own," she tells the elder vampire, "but … I want you close. Please. Just … let me try it alone. It's … it's just something I have to do."

He's gotten good at it over the years, masking that little twinge, keeping his expression neutral when the flashes start getting a little brighter in his head. Of course that means when Jesse turns toward Abbey, his expression is just that, a mask. He's smiling, and he has a nice smile, but it's a little on the plastic side. The, "Thanks!" he offers along with that smile is just a little too enthusiastic. A moment or two later, when that brief flash fades, the smile relaxes into something more genuine. "Would be a nice night if it weren't for this damned heat, yeah?" So far he hasn't noticed the new arrivals, visually or in his head.

Abbey tilts her head while she watches Jesse curiously, she hums softly and nods. "Welcome." She offers with a friendly tone. The cigarette is held between her fingers where he burns without her paying attention to it. "That's for sure.. Its going to get hotter for sure. Summer always is." This said while she shakes her head slightly. A glance is sent to the side, seems she picked up on the scent of others in the area and the voices reach her soon eough. Though she can't pick up on what is really being talked about just yet.

Michael nods with a smile to Desiree. "I'll be close. You're as safe as you've ever been in your life. I promise." It's not like he knows of much that worries him, he waits where he is, watching Desiree for a moment. "So, how do you want to do this? Shall I wait here, or would you rather have me follow you close?" Michael frowns, he can hear other voices, and he's pretty sure he recognises them, but they're not a concern at least not at present.

It might be noted that, for all his complaining about the heat, Jesse is wearing a jacket. He spies that perfect rock and bends over to pick it up. He straightens and positions himself for the 'toss' even as he speaks, "Yay for summer, right?" Yes, that is sarcasm. He pulls back his arm, ready, set… throw! But as soon as he lets the rock go, he turns away from the lake and brings his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index fingers. He makes a little 'fuck me' sort of sound in the back of his throat but before the questions even start he's holding his other hand out in a staying gesture, "Just got something in my eye." He looks a little more like he just woke up after a three day bender the way he's squinting and speaking through clenched teeth.

Abbey hums softly and chuckles. "I suppose so." She offers softly as she takes another drag from her cigarette while she glances back to the water. Blinking she looks back over to Jesse and tilts her head an is about to ask if his alright before he goes about saying something. "Ah.. sorry." She offers softly while watching him. "You sure you're alright there?" The cigrette is snuffed out and flicked into a nearby garbage can in case it was the smoke causing the problem.

Michael does follow, he's not close enough to evade her personal space, but he's close enough that it's obvious he's watching her. Despite having been here a number of times since the attack this time his own senses are on edge, he's listening for anything out of the ordinary, anything that smells wrong, anything that could be deemed a set, he's taking his promise seriously. Of course all that shows is that he's stoically taking in his surroundings, the heat doesn't concern him, in fact he seems unconcerned by anything, his eyes scanning the surroundings, even as he follows some distance behind Desiree.

he's not a vampire with super hearing, or any kind of psychic to get foreknowledge of people until Desiree approaches the water's edge. There she stops short, seeing two figures by the lake, and hearing words, though she can't quite make them out yet. It brings her pause, though, to know there are others around who might witness her … reluctance to carry on with her plans. She waits, then takes a deep breath, forcing herself to move forward, to close the gap between herself and the couple standing by the lake. A greeting would seem to be in order, since it's only polite to alert others to her presence. She's not comfortable, by any stretch of the imagination, but … "Good evening." Soft voice, kind of hesitant. "Don't mind me, I'm just … just out for a stroll." Yeah, there's stress underlying the words, and those with preternatural senses will catch more than a little scent of fear.

Abbey watches Jesse curiously and half steps forward. "Hey.. You look like hell. Why don't you sit down for a moment?" Well she's concerned over the guy, something isn't right to say the least. At the blood is picked up without a problem the scent rather thick in the air, luckily it doesn't affect her at least. Her gaze turns towards the two that are wandering towards the water and she blinks while glancing back to Jesse moves towards Dessiree and Michael. He.. Knows what Michael is? Needless to say the wolf is a bit confused but she turns and slowly follows after Jesse, getting the feeling this isn't going to turn out well to say the least.

Michael isn't where Jesse would expect him, by the time he's spotted Michael's already moving, he's a blur if visible at all, he closes the gap between himself and Jesse, his tones as cold as death. "Be quiet. You're upsetting my friend. That is a very bad idea, as before it seems you jump to conclusions without all the information." He doesn't take his eyes off Jesse, but his tone becomes warmer, and as full of confidence as ever. "Don't worry Desiree, this is a simple misunderstanding."

If anything, the sudden explosion of words from the man takes Desiree completely by surprise, especially the part about "not hurting her again." Her head snaps up and she peers through the dim light of the streetlamps nearby, trying to make out features, expressions. Emotions, those she can hear and it scares her, roots her to the spot. /She/ doesn't know he means Michael. She's of the impression the creature is back, and it makes her insides scream to escape. But she can't move and just stands there until she is trembling all over from terror. "No…" Her own whisper is desperate. "Not again… not again … not again!" Hands go over her eyes, and she kind of folds in on herself, collapsing to the ground and rolling into a fetal position. Fear. It can do strange things to a person.

The gap is, indeed, closed, but damned if by the time it is, the pistol Jesse was reaching for isn't drawn and nearly stuck up one nostril when he and the vampire are suddenly 'face to face'. Hesitation, it'll be the death of him one day. He doesn't pull the trigger. But he does prove that he's quicker than the average bear (just don't tell Devon that!) … "Don't touch her," he offers up in a voice that's not quite as firm as he wants it to be. He seems uncertain, thrown off; perhaps by the way he's addressing Desiree? "Help her up, yeah?" is asked, obviously, of Abbey, but his gaze never leaves Michael. "You're right, I don't know what I saw, but you can be damned sure I'm going to be sure before I let you near her." At least he's admitting he could be wrong about what he 'saw'? Wait. Saw? …and he does seem to have the girl's best interest at heart.

As soon as Desiree curls up it causes Michael to pause, the next action is far more aggressive, it's rare that Michael so much as expresses displeasure let alone true temper. Yet with all the speed and strength that he can muster he grabs for Jesses' arm, the gun's moved away from his face, while the other hand goes to the mans throat, there's enough pressure there to stop him from pulling away, but not enough to actually cause harm. "You had best hope she gets over this boy." He speaks to Abbey in much more controlled tones. "If you would take his gun? I don't trust the idiot not to try shooting me."

Desiree is engaged in fighting her own demons, so isn't all that aware of what's going on for a few minutes. She hears things, but they're distant, and she's not certain of anything. A few minutes pass while Desiree masters the fear, and pulls back from the abyss enough to re-enter the world around her. There is no slavering beast, no assault that comes at her from the darkness. Just muggy, Dallas summer weather, the scent of the lake and cool sand beneath her legs. The shivering is involuntary, however, and it doesn't stop immediately. Fear is a funny thing, and does strange things to a human's brain. "M-michael…?" The name is whispered, a pleading, needful sound that comes out more a whimper than a call for help. Even as she's calling for him, she's lifting her head, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Michael, I … I can't do it," she tells the elder vampire. "I can't face it again. I can't let it come after me again!" Cryptic words. "I won't let it eat me. I won't, I can't…"

What's a boy to do when grabbed by the throat and unable to do anything else? Knee to the nads, that's what! It's a reflex action, it really and truly is. Jesse's just been trained, his entire life, to react to situations like this. He might even feel bad about it later. He brings one of those long, lanky legs up with all the strength and speed he can muster, knee bent, target Michael's ancient family jewels. For a little human, he packs quite the 'punch'. Again, training! Right now, it's Desiree's words that are distant to him. Right now, he's in fight or flight mode and since he can't fly, he's fighting. He makes a sort of 'flick' gesture with his left wrist. Gun hand pinned, time to go for the secondary weapons. It's a small blade, easily concealable, but it's there in his hand after that flick. Now the reason for the jacket in the heat becomes apparent.

Abbey growls out slightly as Michael makes a move for Jesse's neck, she moves forward rather quickly, one hand balled into a fist while she glares back at Michael. "Its easier to talk to someone than just grabbing them," she says, accent being a bit thicker. Her eyes widen as Jesse goes about moving rather quickly… Crap… "Hey… Dammit, wait a moment!" She doesn't seem [to want] them to start fighitng here really.

Ah the joy of being a vampire the knee gets no notice, what does get noticed is the words from Desiree, as soon as that's heard he casually tosses Jesse away, not giving him much time to get a knife to him, the throws casual, but it's enough to send Jesse some way through the air. He's then by Desirees' side. He reaches out to Desiree. Although he does speak to Abbey in surprisingly clipped tones, his accent one that's likely unique. "Not when the person in question isn't know for their reason and has a gun in your face… he should be grateful I never snapped his neck… or came up behind him in the first place." He looks down at Desiree the rest not mattering now. "Des, I'm here. Everything's ok… there's nothing here that will hurt you, it was just some fool who didn't know what he was talking about."

Much of the goings on are unknown to Desiree, at least until she opens her eyes and sees Michael tossing someone away. "Michael!" she cries, holding out her arms. She's gathered into Michael's embrace and buries her head against his shoulder. "I can feel it, Michael. It's there, it's still here and it… it wants me. It wants to find me, to devour me…" The words are muffled but clear enough to be heard. "Please, please don't let it find me. Don't let it … hurt me again." For the clairvoyant, the picture's a lot clearer from Desiree now. It's the projection of memory, something large and black coming out of the darkness, hunger and madness in its movements. "Please don't let the were-thing get me. Please!" It's like she's turned into a small child, not a woman. A child turning to a father, a parent, a protector. She didn't see Jesse's knife, only that he went flying backwards from Michael.

Jesse hits the ground with a painful sounding 'thud', but training.. He rolls back to his feet and, for now, shrugs off any of the pain of the impact. Damned if he's not still holding both knife and gun. But damned if he's not leaking a little from his right thigh where he stabbed himself a little bit with his own knife when he hit. If only he hadn't hesitated with the shot! But he's not a killer, he's really not. That hesitation will always be there. "Yeah and you should be grateful you didn't get a bullet up your nose," he comments. He keeps the sidearm lowered, but ready to be raised in an instant. His attention turns to Abbey, but only for the briefest of moments so she knows he's speaking to her, "Y'alri…" He never finishes the question. He drops the knife, his hand raises to press the heel of his palm to the side of his head. "Fuck… Goddamit…" He sways, he staggers, he rides it out and manages to stay on his feet, but not before his shirt is splattered with the blood coming from his nose. "I saw it… I saw her… I saw him… I had to be…" A beat. "Fuck.." It's all growled out between clenched teeth. "…sure."

Abbey glares at Michael thinly. "You didn't have to do that.." She snaps out, another slight growl escaping her as she shifts and turns moving over to wherre Jesse is seeing how Michael is taking care of Des at the moment, still she can hear everything she is saying and she now knows that Des was attacked by the shifter some months ago. She blinks while looking at Jesse, standing there rather close to him and pulls out a clean shop type rag and offers it to him. "Look.. Some time ago there was a canine going around attacking people.. She must have been one that was attacked. The vampire didn't harm her." She offers while trying to talk him down so to speak. "I don't know what you saw but it wasn't /him/." Talk people, it works.. really! She hopes at least..

Michael looks at Jesse for a moment. "I came up in front of you because I wanted to try reasoning… you know the concept of reason? That's when you act with informed information rather than just jumping to conclusions. This could have been avoided." He turns his attention back to Desiree, his hand stroking her hair. "There's nothing here Desiree. It's just us, you're perfectly safe nothing will hurt you while I'm here."

Desiree gradually calms, reason returning along with her composure. Eyes are wiped on her sleeve (probably her nose, too). A few sniffles and she's much better. Pulling back from Michael slightly, she looks around, blinking. There's barely light from street lights in the parking area, but enough for her to see. "A-abbey…?" She does recognize the mechanic, after all. It hasn't been that long past since she's seen the woman. "That is you…?" Just to be certain. She doesn't immediately release her grasp on Michael, turning to peer at the other member of this quartet of confusion. "I don't know … who are you?" she asks, bluntly. "Wait … are you bleeding? Are you all … all right?" There's concern and compassion in the voice. Five minutes ago, she was a basket case because of this man, and now she's worried about him being wounded? Yes, that's one of Desiree's stranger qualities.

"Next time try walking at a normal pace, yeah?" Jesse retorts before he takes the shop cloth from Abbey and presses it to his bleeding nose along with a sincere enough sounding, "Thanks." He looks like nothing but sheer force of will is keeping him up and on his feet. He's pale, he's trembling just a little bit (at least his finger is off the trigger of that gun) … Truth be told, he looks like he might vomit. He's favoring that right leg a little now, the pressure of weight on it causing him to wince. But he's still standing! "Most of the time? Waiting for information doesn't end so good either." Gives the Big Bad Boogy Men time to be Big and Bad, better to take them down hard and fast, so sayeth the Old Man. He shivers from head to toe, the 'residue' of that last vision still burned into his mind's eye, flickering and flashing there. Some days he sure would like to have a remote to change his 'brain channel'.

"I'm good," Jesse assures, despite it all.

Abbey seems a bit unsure what to actually do for Jesse, but she shifts closer to him and moves to try and take hold of his arm to help him keep himself standing. "Don't get all manly on me and just lean against me if you need to." She isn't one to judge, she's been in plenty of fights where she had to limp her way home after all. Her gaze turns back to Des. "Ya.. Desiree.. You alright?" As for Michael? She just ignores him now. So what if Jesse had a gun in his face she still feels this could have been avoided.. Though she isn't sure how she could have stopped it from turning the way it did.

"That was the second time I've tried to explain to you that I mean no one any harm. There won't be a third." He smiles as he looks at Desiree, there's a hint of worry in his expression. "Are you ok? When the Idiot decided I was stalking you he…. startled you. He got the wound after deciding to pull a gun on me." He shrugs a shoulder. "I think it's an idea that the wound be treated… and that either we go, or he does… the smell of blood isn't doing much for my already frayed temper."

Desiree peers at the young man who looks worse than she feels. "I … I have a car here," she points out. "We can take him to the hospital." Logical, practical, anything to avoid facing more demons. "He needs … medical attention." She's observant, and sees him favoring that leg. That, and she's not blind. There's dark staining on the pants leg. "He's bleeding … his leg," she points out, finally stepping free of Michael's arms. "Let me help, please. I feel like this's at least partially my fault." There's deep compassion in her eyes, her hands just a bit shaky as she pulls off the scarf from around her neck. "We can use this as a bandage, or tourniquet, or … whatever." First aid, well, it just isn't one of her skills.

"I'm good," he repeats for Abbey's benefit. Stubborn man! So what if maybe he's leaning just a little? It's just because he doesn't want her to be afraid, or something. "I saw her. I saw her attacked. I saw her bleeding. Then I saw your face. What the fuck would you have done you self righteous prick? Are you telling me you wouldn't have tried to protect her? That you would have stood the fuck around and asked questions about it first?" Jesse's current condition? It's not doing much for his frayed temper either and his mouth is running like a wide open faucet. His head's pounding, his brain taking a beating both from the visions and from being tossed around like a ragdoll, his leg's throbbing, and all he was trying to do was make sure no one hurt her again. Saw? Like when? He keeps using that word and putting that strange emphasis on it. "Next time? I'll ignore it, or I'll have a chitchat first, yeah? After it's too late." He pulls away from Abbey, staggers, turns, still stays on his feet, and hobbles off toward the parking area. "My jeep's here, I'll manage."

Looking Jesse Michael nods. The explanation makes the situation somewhat more acceptable for Michael. "Don't try pulling a weapon on me again and we won't have a problem. And if you ever believe you /must/ draw a weapon then use it. I could have killed you if I had a mind." It's as near to a peace offering as Michael's going to make, and it's very much resting on how well Desiree recovers from the events. "Desiree, we should get you home, unless you wish to continue?"

Desiree stands, looking at the young man. She still has no idea who he is, but she does trust Abbey. The mechanic has always been friendly and given her a square deal. "Sure, Abbey," she says, her voice subdued in the aftermath of what she caused. "But … I have to do something before we leave. There's … I have to face … I have to …" She takes a deep breath. "I have to face the fear, or else it'll rule me forever." Surely someone who sees the aftermath of car wrecks can understand that. "Like riding a horse. If you fall off…" Her voice trails into silence as Abbey goes to tend the young man. "Please … tell him I'm sorry for … everything." A look at Michael and she squares her jaw and shoulders. "No, I have to see it through, Michael. If I don't now, I never will. Don't … please don't coddle me. I can do this."

Jesse shoves his sidearm back into the small holster hidden in the waistband of his pants and turns back to pick up his knife. He does it all without saying a word to anyone. His teeth are clenched together so tightly they can almost be heard grinding together. The little vein above his right eye throbs and pulses as if it has a life of its own. The more he moves around on it, the more he favors that leg and the more it bleeds. "I would have done the same thing no matter what you were," he mutters under his breath, aimed at Michael. Sometimes monsters don't have fangs and don't drink blood, sometimes they don't even sprout fur under a full moon. Sometimes they're just human and the situation would have been the same if that had been the case given what he saw. He catches Desiree's apology and adds, barely there, "Not your fault." Finally, he focuses all his attention on Abbey. "I just wanna go home. Devon can stitch this up." He's certainly not volunteering to go to any hospital, too many questions. He continues his hobbled march toward the parking lot, still not really making it clear as to whether or not he's going to try and drive himself or let Abbey give him a lift.

Abbey nods slightly as she hears Des, at least it seems that way. Her pale gaze rests on Jesse as she follows along athis side. "Well that's fine.." She offers while shaking her head slightly. "Look.. I'm Abbey alright?" It would be a lot easier if she knew the guys name. Speaking of the parking lot, her red Sleby mustang is parked not to far from his Jeep. "An my car is right over there.. You can do what you want but I'm offering to either give you a lift in mine or drive you car. You act like someone that hit his head. Not good when someone has to drive." She points out. "I don't want nothing other then to not let someone freaking kill themselves tonight."

Nodding Michael smiles to Desiree. "I have no intention of coddling you." He motions ahead. "I'll follow the same as before… this time however I'll stick to the shadows… you won't see me, but I'll be there." He doesn't argue, he's happy to leave it at that, the others are ignored, they're going to the hospital or not… it's really not his concern anymore after all.

Desiree watches Abbey following the young man, then turns to Michael, nodding. "That's fine," she says, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly. Steeling herself, she turns to follow one of the paths. Her steps are measured and slow, at times reluctant, at other times quicker and more sure. It's not long before she disappears from sight, around some boulders and into the ever-deepening shadows beneath the trees surrounding the lake.

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